Development and use of water quality indices (WQI) to assess the impact of BMP implementation on water quality in the cool run tributary of the White Clay Creek Watershed

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University of Delaware
The purpose of this project was to develop Water Quality Indices (WQI) that could be utilized to describe the water quality in the Cool Run tributary and to evaluate the impact of BMP implementation within the University of Delaware Agricultural Experimental Station Farm (UDAESFF) on water quality. A variety of water quality parameters have been measured at eight sites within the UDAESF over the past three years. Based on this data there has been a positive impact on the water quality as Cool Run exits the UDAESF and continues through residential areas. Many sections of the stream within the UDAESF are still impaired from previous farm management practices. New management practices have been implemented during the study period these include a manure collection system and a constructed wetland. Older management practices have been in place since before 2001, these practices include riparian buffer zones, prevention of livestock from entering the stream and the addition of a weir. A working model was developed to allow the WQI to be used for the evaluation of up to eight different parameters sets or to be used to create a spatial distribution of the WQI values as the stream flows through the UDAESF. The model was used for the evaluation and rating of the individual sites and the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that are in place. Evaluations were completed using the effects on streams associated with the individual BMPs and parameters that related general stream health. Future researchers will be able to use and update the Kiliszek Water Quality Index (KWQI) with the current Delaware water quality standards and criteria to monitor the quality of water within the Cool Run Stream.